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REBER v. WILKES-BARRE FIREMEN'S RELIEF AND PENSION ASSOCIATION (07/21/55)

July 21, 1955

REBER
v.
WILKES-BARRE FIREMEN'S RELIEF AND PENSION ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 18, Feb. T., 1955, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Luzerne County, Dec. T., 1952, No. 394, in case of George Reber v. The Wilkes-Barre Firemen's Relief and Pension Association. Judgment affirmed.

COUNSEL

Frank Slattery, Jr., for appellant.

Charles H. Miner, Jr., with him Arthur H. James, for appellee.

Before Rhodes, P.j., Hirt, Ross, Gunther, Wright, Woodside, and Ervin, JJ.

Author: Wright

[ 179 Pa. Super. Page 98]

OPINION BY WRIGHT, J.

George Reber is one of sixty-four persons on the relief or pension rolls of the Wilkes-Barre Firemen's Relief and Pension Association. Reber filed an action in assumpsit to recover a temporary thirty percent reduction in his pension payments. The trial Judge directed a verdict for the plaintiff. Motions by the defendant for judgment n.o.v. and for a new trial were refused. This appeal followed.

The Wilkes-Barre Firemen's Relief and Pension Association was organized in 1896 as a corporation not for profit, and has been in continuous existence ever since. Its charter sets forth the purpose for which the corporation was formed to be "the maintenance of a society for beneficial or protective purposes to its

[ 179 Pa. Super. Page 99]

    members, and for said purposes, to provide and maintain a fund, from fees, dues and assessments collected from its members, and from legacies, gifts and other sources, for the payment of such benefits and pensions ... as may be authorized by the By-Laws". Article VI, section 6, of the by-laws provides that "The funds available for the payment of benefits and pensions shall include all fees, dues and assessments paid by the members; all interest on investments; and all other moneys received by the Association from any other source whatsoever".

For more than thirty years appellee was a member of the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department and of the appellant Association. Upon his retirement effective June 1, 1950, under the provisions of the by-laws of the Association then in effect, he became eligible for a pension of $100.00 per month which he received until July 1, 1952. On June 3, 1952, by vote of the active members (those who were not retired), a resolution was adopted by the Association reducing all pension payments and benefits by thirty percent. Consequently, appellee's pension was cut from $100.00 to $70.00 per month, effective July 1, 1952. Appellee's position is that the reduction in pension payments was improper, whereas appellant contends that it was justified in reducing appellee's and other pensions, inasmuch as the anticipated receipts were not expected to be sufficient to cover full pension payments for the balance of the year 1952.

There is no substantial dispute as to the facts. On January 1, 1952, the net worth of appellant corporation was $182,958.95. During that year the receipts from all sources, including interest on investments, repayment of loans, State appropriation, City appropriation, contributions, and profit ...


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